Building stock and development projects

The City of Helsinki owns some 2,000 buildings. In addition to our own buildings, we organise activities in leased and shared premises.

The city owns some 2,000 buildings. Their total surface area is around two million square metres, and their replacement value is around EUR 8 billion. The high maintenance backlog, around EUR 1.3 billion, for buildings owned by the city is a major economic challenge. 

We manage and operate the extensive real estate assets by focusing on the long-term sustainability of the buildings, meaning that facilities must be designed and built to stand the test of time and serve a variety of users. 

The condition of a building is affected by the time of construction and the building’s life cycle stage. A new or recently renovated building is generally in better condition than an old building that has not undergone any extensive renovations. The indoor air quality of buildings may also vary, even if the legal requirements are met.

Life cycle stages of a building

  1. Planning

  2. Construction

  3. Commissioning

  4. Use and maintenance

  5. Renovation

Surveys are performed to determine the condition of buildings

In 2014–2023, we commissioned approximately 2,000 surveys on the city’s facilities. Most of them involved service buildings such as schools, day-care centres or social services and health care facilities. 

We handle some 200 condition surveys per year. We also perform radon measurements, among other things. Condition surveys are realised to provide information for the planning of both minor repairs and major renovations. In addition, we monitor the conditions in the facilities and the success of repairs, as well as investigate the causes of indoor air issues and other damage and defects.

Read more about indoor air surveys.


We are actively involved in a variety of cooperation networks, working groups and development projects. With the information obtained through surveys, we aim to achieve the goals of the city’s emissions reduction programme, adapt to climate change and plan and build healthy, safe and functional spaces, for example.

Pilot projects on circular economy

We investigate opportunities related to circular economy through pilot projects. In demolition projects, we collect information on the possibilities of further use of building materials and furniture, and in new construction and renovation projects information on ways to utilise material that has already been used.

Our circular economy pilot projects have included the demolition of the Vartiokylä day-care centre and primary school and the Laakso hospital, as well as the new construction of the Roihupelto campus of the Helsinki Upper Secondary School of Languages and the Stadin AO (Helsinki Vocational College and Adult Institute). Currently, circular economy is being piloted in new construction projects replacing the Kannelmäki Comprehensive School and the Suutarila multi-purpose building, the new construction project for the Melkinlaituri school and day-care centre building and the sports area warehouse building, and the Töölö Primary School renovation project.

Carbon footprint and low-carbon construction development projects

We have commissioned carbon footprint calculations on the lifecycle of buildings as part of new projects since the beginning of 2021. The calculations provide information on the baseline carbon footprint of our service buildings’ lifecycle, on the basis of which we can set reduction targets. We are currently investigating the possibility of setting carbon footprint threshold values for our service buildings even before the setting of national thresholds.

Up to about half of the carbon footprint of a building’s life cycle consists of the manufacture of building materials and products in the construction phase. With building design alternative reviews as well as separate consultant surveys, we seek to find out how we can reduce emissions during construction.

Municipal indoor air network

In 2018, the authorities responsible for the condition of properties in Espoo, Helsinki and Vantaa set up a municipal indoor air network. In addition to the founding members, representatives from the cities of Porvoo, Turku, Tampere, Lahti, Oulu, Jyväskylä and Kuopio were invited to join the network. The network aims to identify good practices and harmonise procedures in areas such as structural engineering solutions in building design and verification of the success of repairs, and verification and automation of building services.

Terveet tilat 2028 programme

The national Terveet tilat 2028 (Healthy Facilities 2028) programme aims to ensure that public buildings are healthy and to improve the treatment and rehabilitation of people suffering from bad indoor air. The aim of the ten-year programme is to establish property management procedures in which the condition of buildings, their suitability for their intended use and user experiences are regularly reviewed and evaluated.

Read more about the Terveet tilat operating method (in Finnish).(Link leads to external service)

Condition and indoor climate of school buildings

The project “Condition and indoor climate of school buildings” (KouluKunto) produced uniform, consolidated information on the condition of Finland’s comprehensive school and upper secondary school buildings. The project examined Finnish school buildings, focusing on their structural condition, the quality of building services and indoor air, and also considered the impact of climate change on construction and building data management. A wide range of data was analysed, including registers, surveys and data on building condition and indoor air quality. Municipalities can use the research results to develop long-term investment planning and property data management for building maintenance.

Condition and indoor climate of school buildings(Link leads to external service)

Impact of ventilation operating times in public buildings on working conditions and indoor air quality

Impact of ventilation operating times in public buildings on working conditions and indoor air quality was an Aalto University research project funded by the Finnish Work Environment Fund. The results show that continuous night-time ventilation is not necessary if there are no people in the building at night and therefore no moisture sources, but two hours of ventilation before the building is used is sufficient.

Impact of ventilation operating times in public buildings on working conditions and indoor air quality (Link leads to external service)